Maniac Cop III: Badge of Silence (1993)

Badge of do what now? A better title would have been Maniac Cop III: Bride of Maniac Cop, because that’s pretty much what this one is about. A homeless guy who practices voodoo brings back Officer Matt Cordell, the titular maniac cop, for…some reason. But Cordell wants a lady friend, so what he decides to do is get the homeless guy to resurrect Officer Katie “Maniac Kate” Sullivan to be his undead bride. After all, Kate’s in a coma after shooting a criminal who was robbing a drug store and also shooting his hostage…who happened to be the criminal’s girlfriend, and who happened to shoot Kate and put her into her coma. But the evil scum-sucking media (which includes ace news reporter Ted Raimi in a cameo) have decided to suppress that part of the story, so the city wants Kate to die so they can brush things under the rug instead of having actual open conversations about police brutality in New York and in American society at large.

My, now that just seems ludicrous, doesn’t it?

Anyway, yes, the plot leaves open a lot of questions and does little to resolve itself. Storylines appear but don’t really go anywhere. And the movie had a really troubled production, which further hurt the film; original director William Lustig only shot 51-minutes worth of footage for the film and refused to shoot any more after having a falling out with the producers, so he quit, and Joel Soisson came in and used footage from the previous Maniac Cop films to round out the movie to 85 minutes. Unfortunately this created further editing problems, but it was the only way the studio was ever going to get a salvageable film. And it goes without saying that no fourth film in the franchise has ever appeared on the scene.

But does this movie totally suck? Well, no. Sure, it’s a mess of a film, but that didn’t stop Robert Davi from being a bad ass in it. He plays Detective Lieutenant Sean McKinney, back from Maniac Cop 2 and here to kick Cordell’s ass…or try to, anyway. It’s kind of tough to kill a seven foot tall zombie cop. And Robert Z’Dar returns with his massively imposing jawline to play as Cordell. This film also ends with the most ridiculously awesome chase sequence, mainly because Officer Cordell is ON FIRE the entire time! I don’t know if Z’Dar did his own stunts, but whoever did, a standing ovation is deserved. And near the end of the scene he gets his arm torn off before his car explodes. And McKinney then uses Cordell’s flaming arm TO LIGHT HIS CIGAR! Bad movie, yes, but still bad ass.

We may one day see a return to the franchise, as the Los Angeles Times claimed in 2012 that Lustig was interested in doing a remake of the first film or a prequel with Nicolas Winding Refn. Z’Dar also expressed a desire to return to the character, though he sadly passed away in 2015. As for Lustig, he directed a couple of films after this but soon got out of the hot seat entirely and now is the CEO of Blue Underground, which specializes in releasing exploitation and underground films on DVD and Blu-ray. God only knows who owns the rights to these films at this point. But I can’t help it, I kind of like the Maniac Cop series.

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